ARCH - Shelter
Front Steps operates three emergency shelter programs, two offered year-round at the ARCH, as well as a Cold Weather Shelter Program at area churches on very cold nights. Front Steps helps homeless individuals find a decent, safe, and weather-protected place to spend the night. Learn more about the ARCH Overnight Shelter, Day Sleep, and Cold Weather Shelter Program below.
ARCH Overnight Shelter
ARCH Overnight Shelter provides overnight shelter and showers to up to 215 men each night. 100 men sleep in bunk-style dormitories and receive dinner on-site. An additional 115 men are provided a mat for floor sleeping. The majority of the bunk beds, and some of the mats, are reserved for clients who are actively participating in a case management program. The remaining bunks and sleeping mats are distributed nightly on a lottery basis. There is no limit to the time or number of nights that an individual may access shelter through the lottery. ARCH Overnight Shelter's doors open at 6:00 pm for clients with a reserved bunk, followed by the clients with reserved sleeping mats, and the lottery process starts once the case management clients have been admitted.
ARCH Day Sleep
ARCH Day Sleep is available to men who were turned away from ARCH Overnight Shelter due to lack of space, to clients who work overnight hours or have a medical need, and to homeless women. Day Sleep is available from 7:00 am until 2:30 pm daily.
Cold Weather Shelter Program
Front Steps coordinates with local churches and city emergency officials to open additional space to provide temporary overnight shelter on freezing nights. Austin's lack of shelter space forces many homeless people to sleep outside during winter months. Several years ago, Front Steps and Austin Area Interreligious Ministries (AAIM) developed the Cold Weather Shelter Program, coordinating local churches and community volunteers to provide shelter in church facilities on nights when the temperature drops to freezing.
We have six churches that provide shelter for men five nights of the week. We have coverage for every night except Mondays and Wednesdays with two churches opening up on Friday night. The number of men sheltered at these churches ranges from 20 to 100 men per church. We have two churches that provide shelter for women. Central Presbyterian Church provides women’s shelter Monday through Thursday. The Trinity Center of St. David’s Episcopal Church provides shelter for women Friday through Sunday.The volunteer-staffed shelters offer a warm place to sleep, a hot meal, and a welcoming environment to homeless men and women. Clients can call Jim Cooley at the Cold Weather Shelter hotline (305-4109) daily during winter months for updates on shelter availability.
Additional space can also be provided through expansion at the Salvation Army. In the event that more shelter space is necessary, Front Steps staff will coordinate with the city to make sure enough shelter is available for all those who need it.
For more information about the Cold Weather Shelter Program, please read this press release: Providing Shelter for the Homeless as the Temperature Drops. If your church would like more information about serving as a freeze night host site, please call Jennifer Denton at 512-305-4153 or email at